Young AFL Giants easing pressure on vets

The emergence of several GWS Giants youngsters has taken the pressure off the club’s veterans, according to rejuvenated midfielder Ryan Griffen.

One of just four Giants with 200 or more games of AFL experience, 29-year-old Griffen is better positioned than most to track the development of the large group of blossoming players in their early 20s with well under 100 matches under their belt.

“You can actually sit back and watch these up and coming superstars really perform,” Griffen said.

“A lot of guys have taken that pressure off each other and are really sharing a load.

“It’s just great for us older boys to not have all the pressure.

“The young guys are coming through and really taking their game on.”

Former Bulldogs captain Griffen has started his second season at GWS in better form than his inconsistent first year at the western Sydney club.

“It’s definitely an improvement from last year and Ryan would have been the first to admit that,” Giants’ coach Leon Cameron.

“He’s got that appetite to play AFL footy again every week which is probably part of being settled more after his first year.”

Griffen said it was always going to take time to settle in with GWS after ten seasons at the Bulldogs, where he was captain and won two best and fairest titles.

“I feel like I belong in the side now,” Griffen said.

“I really know my role this year and I’m just a lot happier and enjoying my footy.”

Spectators are also seeing a trimmer Griffen in action this season after he shed some excess kilos.

“I was just a little bit heavy last year,” he said.

“I got up into the 90s. I’m trying to get myself around the 88 (kilo) mark and you feel like you’re moving a lot better and especially when you get older, you need to be in good shape.”

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